“So, uh, tell me. What made the Queen go all ice crazy?” asks Kristoff. Anna responds, “Oh well, it was all my fault. I got engaged, but then she freaked out because I’d only just met him, you know, that day. She said she wouldn’t bless the marriage and…” Kristoff interrupts, “Wait, you got engaged to someone you just met that day?”
It’s no secret that Disney has a great track record when it comes to adapting fairy tales into animated films (1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 1940’s Pinocchio, 1950’s Cinderella, 1951’s Alice In Wonderland, 1953’s Peter Pan, 1959’s Sleeping Beauty, 1989’s The Little Mermaid, 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, 1992’s Aladdin, 1998’s Mulan, 2009’s The Princess and the Frog, and 2010’s Tangled), so it was only natural for me to be excited about Frozen (which was inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen) in the months leading up to its release. Not surprisingly, a lot of positive buzz turned the film into a big box office hit when it finally hit theaters last Thanksgiving. I got a chance to see the film in 3D a couple of weeks after it opened, and it was just as enjoyable as I had anticipated. This review of Frozen is my entry in the Fairy Tale Blogathon hosted by Movies Silently (as noted by the logo at the top)
2013’s Frozen centers on a princess who sets off on a quest to find her estranged sister whose cryokinetic powers have accidentally trapped their kingdom in an eternal winter. The princess is joined along the way by a thrill-seeking mountain man, his pet reindeer, and a snowman who had been inadvertently brought to life by the sister. An impressive voice cast was brought together by co-directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee: Kristen Bell (as Anna), Idina Menzel (as Elsa), Jonathan Groff (as Kristoff), the scene-stealing Josh Gad (as Olaf, the adorable snowman), Santino Fontana (as Hans), Alan Tudyk (as the Duke of Weselton), Chris Williams (as Oaken), Ciaran Hinds (as Grand Pabbie the Troll King), and Maurice LaMarche (as the King of Arendelle). Lee, who also voiced the Queen of Arendelle, wrote the terrific screenplay, which focuses on the relationship between two sisters (a rarity for a Disney animated film) rather than featuring the traditional protagonist/antagonist setup (the true villain is revealed much later in the film). The story also explores what true love really means, and that it doesn’t always have to refer to romance.
The animation was just wonderful, blending the styles of computer and hand-drawn animation. Michael Giaimo, who was responsible for the look of the film, seems to have drawn inspiration from the cinematography of such films as Black Narcissus and The Sound of Music. David Womersley’s Nordic-inspired production design was incredible, from the kingdom of Arendelle to the mountains and Elsa’s ice palace. Jean Gillmore’s costume designs were top-notch (the costumes in this film feature more detail than any other computer-animated film I’ve ever seen before). Christophe Beck provides a superb, Nordic-inspired score, and Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez contribute character and story-driving songs, including “Do You Want To Build A Snowman,” “For the First Time In Forever,” and the Oscar-winning “Let It Go.” While I may not agree with the film’s Academy Award win for Best Animated Feature (an honor that should have gone to Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises), Frozen is nevertheless an entertaining film with a strong story, engaging characters, light-hearted humor, and memorable music (there is something for everyone to enjoy).